DAHLONEGA, Ga. --- In a matchup of regionally-ranked opponents, the University of North Georgia defeated Tusculum University 5-2 Monday afternoon in non-conference women's tennis action.
The Nighthawks (4-1), ranked 13th in Division II by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and fourth in the Southeast Region, overcame losing all three doubles matches to defeat the Pioneers (3-2), who are ranked second in the region.
Tusculum got off to a good start against North Georgia by winning all three doubles contests to earn the team point. At flight one, Annie McCullough and Caitlin McCullough defeated 18th-ranked Holly Bennett and Vaishali Jorge by a 6-4 score. Julia Lopez and Africa Mota teamed for a 6-3 win at flight two over Emma Etelalahit and Adrienne Bofinger, and Brittani Brooks and Emilie Hansen won 6-3 at flight three against Cibeles Zuddy and Lexa Loden.
In singles, the Nighthawks evened the match as Bofinger beat Annie McCullough 6-3, 6-0 at flight one, but Caitlin McCullough pushed the Pioneers ahead 2-1 with a 6-4, 6-3 win over 39th-ranked Bennett at flight three. Zuddy leveled the match for North Georgia as she beat Mota 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 at flight four.
At flight two, Jorge, ranked third in the country and first in the region, was taken to the limit by Hansen before prevailing by a 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 score which gave North Georgia the lead for good at 3-2. Claudelle Labonte won 6-0, 6-4 at flight six over Martina Marras to clinch the match for the Nighthawks, and Rafaella Villanueva won 6-2, 6-4 over Lopez at flight five to wrap up the match.
The Pioneers will be home on Wednesday to start a stretch of six consecutive matches at the Nichols Tennis Complex, as Lee visits for a 2 p.m. match.